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Some 500,000 tourism roles at risk if restrictions return, warns WTTC

The WTTC said the government could see up to £5.3b wiped from the sector’s contribution to the economy before the end of 2021 if severe travel restrictions come back into force

More than half a million jobs could be at stake next year if travel restrictions are reimposed this winter, according to alarming new data from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

Last year, WTTC research revealed 307,000 travel and tourism jobs were lost, causing misery to those whose livelihoods rely on a thriving sector.

WTTC said it fears that any further measures which would impact the sector, could make the UK a less attractive destination amongst travellers and in turn, the UK would lose competitiveness as a result.

The council said further damage could be made to the sector if new restrictions are imposed, such as the new potential measures which would see all travellers requiring a booster jab before they travel overseas.

So far, less than 20% of the population in the UK have received the booster jab, representing a minority of those able to travel, and such a move would once again leave millions unable to go abroad, with a “huge economic impact” as a result.

Furthermore, the WTTC said if the traffic light restriction is imposed again, international visitor spending will fall by almost 50% on 2020 figures, making the UK one of the “worst performing countries in the world”.

Julia Simpson, WTTC president and CEO, said: “The very real prospect of more than 500,000 people losing their jobs across the UK Travel & Tourism sector because of unnecessary travel restrictions is a huge concern to WTTC.

“We cannot afford to let all the hard-earned progress we’ve made this year, slide back and be reversed. Too many people’s livelihoods are at risk, as well as the continuing economic recovery of the UK.”

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